Monthly Archives: August 2011

Spencer Learns Sign Language


HUH??? WHAT???? Speak up why don'tcha????

Well, it finally happened. Spencer has gone deaf. I was convinced he was simply ignoring me but it turns out he can’t hear me screaming at him to get out of the garbage. I don’t suppose he went deaf on purpose to piss me off, although it does sound like something he would do. Like getting Coon Hound’s Disease and having accidents right where I would step in them. That’s the kind of relationship we have had over the years.

We went to the vet the other day for a check up and shots. I took Spence, Em and Eddie as Eddie really believes he is a dog. Spencer went first because he is the man of the house. Or because I know he was going to start retaliating for having a thermometer up his butt by farting and it was a very small exam room. Poor Spencer was acting like a scared little kid. He tried to crawl into my lap and hide behind my daughter’s legs. He even tried to get in the cat carrier with Eddie! He didn’t get angry at the vet but he was so scared! He buried his head in my lap when it was time for his shots.

He has all the signs and symptoms of old age. The arthritis, the milky eyes, the balding issues and now the deafness. If the government would get its act together I would apply for medicare for him and see about some hearing aids and a walker. I guess the war is more important than my elderly dog.

I do have to laugh at myself when he is getting into things he shouldn’t be and I am still yelling at the top of my lungs…he’s not forien…he’s deaf!!! I have been working with him on some sign language and he seems to really be catching on. When he could hear he would always ignore my “Look” or my “Tone” and continue on with whatever he was doing. Now, I watch him getting into the garbage and I see him looking around furtively to see if I am watching what he is doing. And when he sees me, he keeps going on the garbage while keeping his eye on me. As soon as I start advancing towards him he starts backing up with garbage in his mouth as he is kicking more garbage into the livingroom hoping beyond hope that I didn’t notice his fancy foot work. I lift my hand and make a swating gesture and he leaves the scene.

When it’s time to go out, I show him the leash and he tries to get up. I have to help him up 9 times out of 10. When it’s time to go inside I point to the door. When it’s time to eat I wave him towards the food bowls. Honestly, we are communicating better now than we ever did before.

It’s sad when I think of how agile he used to be. He was always jumping on people and chasing Cecelia and humping Emma or just humping the air…and now, he can’t hear. But his quality of life is still pretty good. He gets massages from the 8 year old and he gets his butt wiped by the 12 year old and he gets lifted in and out of the car by me and the 16 year old. He still pretends to play with Lucy the pit bull mutt who lives next door and every  once in a while he will look up and see Emma barking out the door and join her. He’s old but he’s still good lookin! He’s deaf but he is still communicating! He can’t hear me yelling my face off for him to GIT but he still attempts his naughty stunts.

He is resigned to the fact that he can no longer hear. He can no longer sing along with the fire sirens. He can no longer scare the pants off the old lady with the toy poodle with his fierce bark. But he has mastered the pathetic dog face and is, as I write, getting love from complete strangers walking down the sidewalk cause he escaped through the screen door……WHAT!!!!!! Gotta GO!!!!! SPENCER!!!!!!!!

Spencer goes to a BBQ


his “Westminster” pose…doesn’t LOOK like he’d be licking random grease traps does he?

It’s summer. Spencer is 13 years old. He has cloudy eyes and selective hearing. He has ruined every single one of my antique oriental rugs and now he’s working on ruining the hardwoods. He needs a full time nurse to help him wipe when he poops. And he cannot walk on the hardwoods because they are actually laminate and he just belly flops and can’t get up. Yeah, that’s my dog…He’s fallen and he can’t get up. Real funny except in the middle of the night when he falls in his own pee AND poop and then can’t get up. Cold showers at 3am but not for the same reason as they used to be.

I have made many concessions for this mutt. I have rolled up the rugs. I have spent a small fortune on baby gates. I have invested in dog beds…that’s right, beds. Because he’s a picky sleeper. I have barricaded the stairs so he cannot go upstairs because he throws himself down the stairs and I know he will break a hip one of these days. Basically, he is now confined to one room. The fancy livingroom (which isn’t so fancy anymore minus the rugs and plus the pee and poop).

Last fall I had new storm doors installed. I had my heart set on the full length screen door but I knew that would be a major temptation for Spence. He has never seen a screen door that he didn’t plow through. Still, I talked myself into the full length, stupid expensive, screen door. In the winter, it was a full length glass door that Spencer left nose prints all over. I changed it out, put the screen in, bought yet another heavy duty baby gate to go in front of it and figured I was brilliant…or at least smarter than Spencer.

I was wrong. Oh so wrong. First of all, to get out of my front door, you had to open the door, then the baby gate, then the screen door,go through, while holding the screen door open but closing the baby gate and/or the door all the time yelling at Spencer to “GIT” because he is deaf and trying to escape. It’s a process. One which I am sure the neighbors enjoy watching. Anyway, I have to be vigilant as Spencer loves to roam and the street is busy and the neighbors don’t care for him pooping in their yard and going thru their garbage. I don’t blame them. I don’t like it either.

But Spencer has gotten old. So old that his fur never grew back from his last trip to the groomers last year. He is now a short haired dog with some long hairs here and there. Kinda like an old man with the nose/ear hair growth…He was really acting as if he wasn’t all that interested in escaping or even doing his routine where he does a dive roll through the screen door. The baby gate was pretty secure. I became complacent. I thought he was too old for his antics of yesteryear. Can I be any wronger?

Emma: I’m sorry. Me: for what? Emma: for having a dumb brother.

The other day we were out and about and I had left the front door open with the baby gate closed and the screen door locked. I got a text from my neighbor who lives 5 house down that Spencer had just come up for a visit and he walked him home and shut the door. WHAT???? How is that possible????? I got home and there is Emma laying in the backyard waiting patiently for someone to let her in. No one knew she had also escaped because she is smart and simply went to the backyard to wait for us to come home. She  looked like she knew she was in trouble but she is kind of the asskisser of the pack and was already acting all contrite and remorseful. And what did she do with her time alone outside in the big wide world? Nothing. She waited for us in the backyard. Spencer on the other hand just HAD to go visiting. Lucky for him he decided to visit the guys who like him, or at least tolerate him.

So, exasperated, I close the front door. I am beaten, I give up. Spencer wins. I can’t have nice things. No antique rugs, no full length screen doors.Wait a second… wait one gosh darn second… I am the human here… I am the grown up… I am THE MOM!!! I say open the front door and live life!! That damn dog is not allowed to rule this house!!! And for a few days, I think he understands that I am in charge and what I say goes and I say he is NOT allowed to go THROUGH the screen door ever again! Yeah, he gets it. And just incase he doesn’t I shut the front door every time we leave the house.

All is well…until today. I open the door, I give my warning (which even I am sick of hearing) about not leaving the house, to which Spencer just rolls his rheumy eyes, and I go upstairs. I get a text from my neighbor UP the street that she just sent Spencer home and he is at the front door. WHAT???? I know deja vu right? I run down stairs yelling at the kids that Spencer is outside and I open the baby gate and the screen door, (which now is really just a frame of a door with some screen kind of hanging from the corner), fully expecting to find the arrogant mutt waiting. He’s not there! I send the 8 year old down the street, the 12 year old up the street and I go to the back yard. He couldn’t have gotten far. It had literally been possibly 15 seconds from my neighbor’s text to me arriving outside. No Spencer. No Spencer anywhere. After 15 minutes I start to get worried. He is kind of blind and sometimes deaf and the roads are busy. I know all he wants is food or better yet garbage or nirvana would be something big and dead to roll in…half and hour, still no Spencer. The 12 year old thinks she has picked up his trail as she found a steaming pile of poop right in the middle of the sidewalk around the corner and down about a half a block. At this point, I am driving around, alerting all the responsible dog owners who are out walking their well behaved dogs on leashes. Imagining the worst, that he has been hit by a car and is being taken by ambulance to the ER and that he is uninsured, I drive slower and yell louder. I don’t know why I am yelling because he only hears what he wants to but that is what dog owners in the movies do when their dog is lost.

About 45 minutes and at least 10 trips around the neighborhood, I pull in to the driveway and see that Emma and my 8 year old are sitting on the sidewalk and my 12 year old is walking toward my neighbor who has Spencer by the collar. Relief. I wanted to hug him and kick him all at the same time (Spencer that is, not my neighbor). My neighbor had been driving around looking also and he decided to go home and check his yard again when he saw Spencer’s butt in his next door neighbor’s yard. As he rounded the corner he caught Spence in the grease pan of their grill licking away as if it were his job. My neighbor introduced Spencer to the new neighbor, making sure that the new neighbor understood that Spencer was harmless albeit annoying and then he hauled my dumb dog home.

Spencer was in the mood for some barbeque. It is summer after all. Turd.

P.S. for all of you who may think that I don’t feed Spencer enough please refer to which will give you an idea of what Spencer is, which is not underfed!